Twenty-one years ago, Steve and I sold nearly everything we owned, quit our jobs, gave up our apartment in Vancouver, loaded up our Toyota Corolla and hit the road for a few years. After a year traveling in the US, we parked the car, loaded up backpacks and flew to Europe. We arrived with hotel reservations for five nights in Paris and no other plans. We had a fantastic year traveling in Europe.
We traveled using Frommer’s Europe on $50 a Day (this was 1988-89) and used their hotel and restaurant recommendations. This was before the Internet, before cell phones, when a trip to Europe took you away from your life at home and gave little opportunity to get back in touch with it. Our main contact was our accountant who paid our credit card bills. It was an incredible time for us and changed our lives.
After a few months into the trip we were in Norway, where everything was much more expensive than the rest of Europe. We stayed in a budget hotel, as we did on most of the trip, that cost 400 kroner a night for a room without a bathroom. I remember that it was about $100 Canadian dollars a night – almost double what we had been spending. We were hanging out in the hotel lobby (my notes say it was Hotel City in Oslo) and someone buzzed the intercom from the street (you had to buzz up to get into the hotel). They asked if there were rooms available, the desk clerk said yes, they asked the price, the hotel clerk told them. From the speaker came an astonished “Pour une nuit?” For one night? Implying – how can it possibly cost that much for one night? Yes, that was the price per night. They did not check in.
We loved that expression and still use it as one of those secret-shared-experience-couples-language to mean – it costs how much?
Well, now I am saying it. Vacation rentals in Paris cost €1,200 – 2,000 per week and that is “on sale”!!! Pour une nuit?
We are planning a 10 week trip to Europe this summer. We have our flights booked – leaving mid-May and coming home at the beginning of August. We have our vacation rentals in the Cotswolds booked. A very nice cottage near Burford from Manor Cottages for the first two weeks of June ($770/week ), then a smaller but lovely cottage in Chedworth, rented from the owner, for the next two weeks ($490/week). A total of $2520 for four weeks – expensive, but it is high season. With the pound low against the dollar, the price is pretty good compared to previous years.
Coincidentally the price for a month in the Cotswolds is almost the same as one week in Paris. Maybe this is the year to travel in England because the pound is making it very affordable? A week in Bath, then an extra week in the Cotswolds? A week in Dorset? Paris is going to be crowded at the end of May. In the last few yeas we have avoided the big cities on our Europe trips.
Originally we had planned to spend the first two weeks of the trip in Nice, in southern France, but it was getting complicated and we thought Paris would be easier. The prices of vacation rentals in Nice were pretty good – under $1000/week for nice apartments.
After England we will probably go to Switzerland for four weeks, but that is always affordable because vacation rentals are well priced there and all we do is hike, an inexpensive activity.
Trip planning really does suck up time. I spent days looking at Cotswolds cottages, then more days looking at Nice apartments. Maybe I am just tired of searching.
Looking back through my travel notes from twenty years ago I see that we paid about $100 CDN per night for the hotel in Paris and it was a budget hotel on the outskirts (back when you used a travel agent to book your hotels – we were at the end of the subway line – why would a travel agent do that?). I will have to do some searching to see what Paris hotels cost now.